Risk Factors for Osteoarthritis

A risk factor is something that raises your chances of getting a health problem.

You can get osteoarthritis (OA) with or without the factors below. But the more factors you have, the greater your chances of getting OA. If you have many factors, ask your doctor what you can do to lower your risk.

The risk of OA gets higher with age. It is more common in women and older adults.

Here are some other factors:

  • Jobs or sports with lifting, squatting, kneeling, or repeated joint use
  • Obesity, which causes extra strain on the joints
  • Having people in your family with OA
  • Prior injury to the joint
  • Weak muscles or tendons that can’t support joints
  • History of joint infection or disease
  • Structural problems—may cause balance or alignment problems that put stress on joints


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Osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated March 15, 2018. Accessed May 30, 2018.
Sinusas, K. Osteoarthritis: Diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2012;85(1):49-56.
9/3/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed... : Zhou ZY, Liu YK, et al. Body mass index and knee osteoarthritis risk: A dose-response meta-analysis. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014;22(10):2180-2185.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated: 5/31/2018

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